So end of June and beginning of July, I successfully passed the guides entrance test. I'm very happy because I trained hard this winter for skiing and then for the summer test too. I also had to make choices and climb less on rock and ice - it was hard sometimes but necessary. No regrets! And this year I will do what I want in the mountains and crags for sure.

Sylvain Thiabaud

After a big party to celebrate it, July starts with multipitch route climbing with my good friend Renaud. He had never climbed in my home valley, so I had to show the classics. I took him on the route I opened last year with my brother Vincent Y'a pas que l'accu dans la vie, a 400m limestone trad route. I was happy to help him discover this wonderful face and to finally go back and free all the pitches!! Last year I missed a few of them.. Renaud is a strong granite and crack climber and he was quite impressed by the style of the limestone.

The day after, we decide to go to the Aiguilles d'Arves to climb Histoire d'O, a route from the master Philippe Mussato known for masterpieces like Alibaba. Philippe told me the rock was amazing and it certainly was!! Fantastic pockets which seemed to be straight from the Marmolada.. Enjoy !!!

After this we wanted some more 'Maurienne' style climbing. So we went to the Grand Capucin to climb some truly perfect cracks, but the weather was against us and Renaud made the wise decision to show the crack climbing paradise of Cadarese in Italy - 3 days of finger destruction!! I love crack climbing, but I always feel like I am starting climbing again as a beginner: Even on the easy grades I have to learn, understand and fight. We try the masterpiece The Doors (8a+), a 40m trad climb without success, but we'll be back for it.

Later in July, Matthieu Portefaix suggested that I try the Devies-Gervasutti route in Ailefroide Occidentale in the Ecrins range. We approach from Prés de Mme Carles, then over a black glacier and Coste Rouge pass for a bivi. The face is very high (1000m) and impressive, with lots of rockfall because of the temperatures. We wake up early and after headtorch climbing, 22 pitches, loose & very loose rock, and finally reach the top before a long and epic descent. The Ecrins range is really nice! During the climb, I keep asking myself why there aren't more people climbing here... and during the descent, I keep remembering.

[caption id="attachment_23534" align="aligncenter" width="979"]The Devies-Gervasutti (ED1) on the Ailefroide The Devies-Gervasutti (ED1) on the Ailefroide[/caption]

My brother broke his hand while skateboarding in June, but it was finally OK for him to climb by the end of July. He was waiting for the time to come, so we went for an alpine route on Mont Blanc: the whole south ridge of the Moine - an easy, but long, and really nice climb! High temperatures were causing a lot of damage in the mountains, with big rockfalls over the weekend :(.

[caption id="attachment_23541" align="aligncenter" width="1728"]Fissure Leroux (7a), just below the Cosmiques hut Fissure Leroux (7a), just below the Cosmiques hut[/caption]

Now that his wrist was operational, it's time to go sport climbing! We had never climbed on the Gramusset face, and it's always good to discover new places! We climbed Zauberberg, which has amazing limestone - really sharp on the skin and with a technical style: a 200m 7a, just perfect! Then we climbed Le partage du monde, an easier route but with the same fantastic rock! We did the whole 180m route in just 3 very long pitches.

The middle of the summer was rainy.. I avail myself of the weather to bolt a few extensions at St Martin la Porte: start on the classic 7c, and just keep on climbing for 50m pitches on really good crimps and slopers :). In the end I bolted 4 routes: 7c+, 8a, 8a+ and 8b - just perfect!

[caption id="attachment_23539" align="aligncenter" width="1296"]Topo of the Central Sector of Saint Martin la Porte Topo of the Central Sector of Saint Martin la Porte[/caption]

The final achievement of the summer was a new multipitch route I bolted on the Croix des Têtes wall with my brother. I started the first two pitches on my own and my brother helped me with the other ones. We bolted it from the top, to create seven amazing pitches, up to 55m, really hard and sustained for the full 400m! We didn't climb it but I think the grades are roughly: 7a/7c/7a/8a/7c/7c/6b. We chose to call it Maître DIM's for our really good friend Dimitri Messina who left us far too soon last year. This route is for him, and I hope to be as talented as him to free it..

[caption id="attachment_23533" align="aligncenter" width="1728"]Topo of Maître DIM'S Topo of Maître DIM'S[/caption]

Now it's time to go to Chamonix for a month for the first guide training, and then back to the south-west for more projects.

[vimeo